Today’s world can often be over stimulating and filled with distractions. When the time comes to focus on work that involves complex problem solving, analytical thinking, creativity, or learning, people can find it difficult to get into the right headspace to be productive. This state of mind is also known as “flow,” which can be defined as a short-term, fragile inner state of top performance, where action and awareness merge. When this state is achieved, happiness is ultimately the by-product. Achieving flow is extremely important to Framery because it helps people to achieve happiness, which is our company’s ultimate mission.
Using the STER-model (selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, and richness), our R&D team has been able to research the means it takes for a person to reach a flow state. This model describes the characteristics of flow state by the following:
- Selflessness refers to the moments when a sense of self and inner criticism disappears. Without the constant self-monitoring, people can enter a state of clarity and total absorption of the activity at hand.
- Timelessness is the sense that time switches off, where hours feel like minutes. An individual can then be freed from the rather confining concept of time and instead, take in the moment.
- When the activity seems easy as if it is fueled by intrinsic motivation, effortlessness is achieved and the flow state activates pleasurable neurotransmitters.
- Finally, richness is when the activity becomes a rich experience. The brain is processing more information faster with a deeper understanding resulting in original ideas being produced.
- These concepts can be simplified into three components: absorption, enjoyment, and intrinsic motivation. When these elements come together, the pleasurable flow work state is realized.
“Flow is a state that challenges us and it requires effort.”
“Flow is a state that challenges us and it requires effort,” explains Framery’s Concept Designer Johanna Horstia. “We ask, what activities are so valuable and enjoyable by themselves, that we are ready to invest resources into them? Getting to a “flow” state of mind requires skill and determination.”
Four states of the flow cycle
Flow cannot simply be achieved because someone tells themselves it is time to get into the right headspace––each person must go through their own process to get into a flow cycle. A flow cycle consists of the following milestones. Each one must be achieved in order for a person to enter the next step in the cycle:
- The initial struggle can create a sensation that feels like tires spinning in the mud and getting nowhere. This is the brain gathering all the information while it tries to make sense of where to start and how to achieve the end goal or task. This step often involves training or practicing in order to understand how to process everything.
- Once the intense problem solving is completed, a person will go through release. This is the breakthrough moment where you are no longer figuring out how to solve the problem or completing the task and actually begin to make strides to finishing the assignment at hand. This disruptive moment is necessary for the brain to enter a state of flow.
- When flow is achieved the person experiences enjoyment and performs at their highest level. This high-performance zone produces creative and thoughtful work.
- Finally, a person enters a recovery state. Given that flow can often be very intense, if a person does not take the time to step away and relax after the task they could be at a higher risk of burning out.
Helping employees achieve flow is essential for businesses to succeed. The flow state maximizes the fundamental elements of success for business which are performance, learning, creativity and motivation. Increasing chances to flow state can provide solutions to today’s problems by lowering stress levels, improving cognitive ergonomics, and enhancing innovation.
Get into your workflow with Framery Q Flow
It’s through research like this that we at Framery are able to provide the tools necessary to support workers’ evolving needs and build products to assist them. Like we have done with enhancing our Framery Q model to create Framery Q Flow. As the name suggests, Q Flow has been designed to meet the needs of today and tomorrow and assists people in achieving that flow-state-of-mind work. As a single-person workstation that unleashes your inner workflow, Q Flow is designed to support flexible work as well as heads-down types of tasks. In addition to all of the features included in the original Framery Q office pod, the Flow model also has a height-adjustable electric table that allows users to change their work position in a matter of seconds. Users can transition from working from their seat to a standing position without throwing off their flow or distributing those around them.
With the mission of helping all workers achieve happiness in the workplace, understanding the mental state that allows employees to thrive is at the center of our product development. We are committed to continuing to educate ourselves and others about the ways they can achieve happiness in the workplace. Ready, set, flow!
Nielsen, K. and Cleal, B., 2010. Predicting flow at work: Investigating the activities and job characteristics that predict flow states at work. Journal of occupational health psychology, 15(2), p.180.
Salanova, M., Bakker, A.B. and Llorens, S., 2006. Flow at work: Evidence for an upward spiral of personal and organizational resources. Journal of Happiness studies, 7(1), pp.1-22.
VancouverDemerouti, E., Bakker, A.B., Sonnentag, S. and Fullagar, C.J., 2012. Work‐related flow and energy at work and at home: A study on the role of daily recovery. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(2), pp.276-295.
Wettrick, D. (2017). Flow States: Ecstasis in the Classroom? https://medium.com/@DonWettrick/flow-states-ecstasis-in-the-classroom-342b3cfa30ba. 14.09.2020.